A NEW exhibition reveals a little-known connection between Warrington and the Hubble Space Telescope.

Space Odyssey at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery will explore the town’s role in most of Europe’s major space missions.

The exhibition launches on Saturday and the showpiece is a range of solar array deployment hardware, some of which have actually flown on the Hubble telescope, travelling two billion kilometres around the Earth.

Over 30 years the spacecraft has produced spectacular images of our universe as part of a NASA mission, backed by European companies like ESR Technology, which has been operating in Risley for more than 50 years.

The company’s aerospace sector tested one of the critical mechanisms before it was fitted onto the Hubble. It also examined parts of the same system when a complete solar array was returned to Earth in the space shuttle and then sent to Warrington.

Simon Griffin, ESR Technology’s business director for space, said: “It was a great opportunity for us to work on the very prestigious Hubble spacecraft, both before launch and after it was returned to Earth.

“And it gives us great pleasure to be able to share the part we have played in this very important space mission from our home right here in Warrington. It’s very rare to be able to touch something that’s been into space and back but thanks to the fascinating Space Odyssey exhibition the public will now be able to do just that.”

Roger Jeffery, producer for Culture Warrington, said: “We’re really excited about the opening of Space Odyssey, an exhibition which we hope will make the people of Warrington proud of their town’s involvement in space exploration over the past three decades.”

Space Odyssey will be at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery from Saturday to September 21 and is free to view